Updated: May 3, 2020
During this pregnancy I’ve been under consultant led care because my first baby was underweight at birth (20g below their threshold). This has meant that I’ve had to go for 4-weekly growth scans from 28 weeks. The idea behind this is to keep an eye on how my baby is growing. If this baby looks to be small too or there is a sudden weight loss (indicating a potential problem with my placenta) then they would offer me an induction. Should that happen (or any other medical reason why they would need to induce me) then I would of course agree to an induction if it was best for my baby.
I was never concerned that my first baby was small. She was born at 5lb 2oz, I was a small baby (5lb 6oz) and so was my mum. We’re fairly petite women and this is just what size the women in my family seem to be born at. However this information was brushed aside by my consultant. She more or less said “That doesn’t matter, your last baby was small so we’re monitoring this one”. I was slightly miffed that my family history was deemed unimportant but looked on the bright side. I took the extra scans as more opportunities to see my baby before he arrives.
Currently my baby is measuring on the 50th percentile, so slap bang in the middle of average! But despite this, at the end of my last consultant appointment he still said to me “We’ll be offering you an induction at 40 weeks”! I was so busy laughing at him and saying “You can offer me one but I won’t be accepting one.” I forgot to ask him the most important question of all. Why? Why on earth would he be offering me an induction at 40 weeks when there are no indications that anything is wrong? According to the World Health Organisation 40 weeks is still 2 weeks away from being overdue! (full term pregnancies have a 5 week window between 37-42 weeks according to the WHO). I kicked myself afterwards for not flexing my hypnobirthing muscle and questioning this offer. I will make sure I do so on my next appointment.
To be fair to the consultant he did say “Well it is an offer. It’s like at Tesco when they offer buy one get one free, you can choose whether or not to take the offer.” Even though he was clearly telling me it was an offer, his language and they way he put it was framing it like it was a good offer and why wouldn’t you accept it? After all who wouldn’t want a buy one get one free offer?
So why isn’t it a good offer?
First of all inductions aren’t all bad. You can have an induction and still have a positive birth experience. One where you use all your hypnobirthing techniques to keep calm and relaxed. If you need to be induced for valid medical reasons then it can be the best course of action to safely deliver your baby. Being induced for the right reasons can mean you get to avoid having a C-Section. It can mean you also avoid potential ill effects to your baby if being outside your womb is the better for your baby.
However there are certain risks associated with having an induction. For me, with a low risk pregnancy and zero signs of anything being wrong with my baby they’re risks I’m just not prepared to make. Would it really be worth these risks just because of a policy and with no good real reason?:
Increased risk of having an epidural due to the intense and stronger nature of chemically induced contractions (or surges)
Increased risk of having another intervention such as a forceps or ventouse suction delivery or a C-Section
Increased risk of infection for you and your baby due to having your waters artificially broken
Increased risk of fetal distress due to body not fully relaxing between contractions (as it does in spontaneous labour) and placental blood flow becoming restricted
Unable to have a home birth (my chosen place of birth)
Higher risk of placental abruption or uterine rupture (both rare but the risk is increased with induction)
Increased risk of baby needing special care after birth due to them not being biologically ready to be born
As with every medical procedure (not just related to birth) there are risks associated. Very often the benefits outweigh the risks but in my situation this just isn’t the case. So Mr consultant thanks very much for the offer but I politely decline!